Lent words - Day 16 ~ Provide

Slipping behind with these posts is one thing, writing them out of sequence another... about to post 17 before 16... and so back to this post which should have been published last Thursday.

When we hear the word "provide" we immediately think of providing Love, a home, security, happiness... or maybe food. But who are we providing for? Well very often we are providing for ourselves but over time we'll find ourselves providing for a family, neighbours maybe, or even the wider community.

Coupled with the above in a more religious context we learn : God is saying "ask me I will provide for you." I don't want to get into a huge debate on this as it isn't the thrust of this post, however asking God for greedy, self obsessed, merchandise to satisfy our spending isn't going to be answered. The "universe" doesn't work like that either. You have to put the work in. We have to take action towards the path we want... keep focused and in the end... we are rewarded ... by the grace of god... the universe / energy or through our own vision and creativity... whichever you think is most appropriate.

We have had a lot of conditioning over the past 1/2 century. Conditioning which has led to a huge emphasis on providing for ourselves and for our immediate family. Capitalism coupled with increased mobility and a more transient population means that people move more and live further afield from supportive direct relatives. So we focus even more time on our close inner circle and look out / up much less often. People regularly get up the dark... go to work... get home in the dark... and then rinse and repeat... weekends are a blur of catching up darting about here and there.... before a new week appears. Those with family's it is a constant chauffeuring role as we take kids from one entertainment location to another... fearing those words of "I'm bored".

It would appear that although the above might be 'normal' right now... 50 years ago it wasn't... and 50 years from now it won't be either. Without community you need money to pay for everything. Our lifestyles require huge sums of money as everyone has their hand out asking for payment. There is no reason for me to do something for you. I don't know you... why should I help you? ... Oh, I am going to be paid... ok... this is my rate... pay me, and I'll do what is set out in my terms and conditions. (not any more mind...)

We have created this society... and the winners in this mode are not the people in our communities... the lower paid, the elderly, the vulnerable... no the winners are those who already have money and can dictate the terms... No compassion... no community spirit... no contribution... a very cold transactional world with little humanity at its heart. Woe betide if you run out of money... with community broken, a nanny state that can no longer provide... who is going to help you out? ... probably a good idea to get some good friends... where did we put that "community thing" again?

I read a blog this week written by one of our very own local businesses that emphasises what I am saying above. It's a blog by +linda anderson of +The Kitchen Croxley ...

Linda set the community coffee shop up having served for Christain Aid around the world. The organisation was changing and Linda left the charity and came up with the idea for the Kitchen sometime later. The Kitchen was set up to "Provide" a community space where local people can come and meet. Linda didn't set the Kitchen up to make vast profits. The intent was to provide something that would encourage people to meet each other, reconnect... a place where people could enjoy each others company and create new memories. Like a kitchen in a house... there would be conversation, baking (lots of baking), laughter... coffee of course... tea too!

Take a quick escape from this blog... to read Linda's blog here.... Please do read the blog before continuing because I will refer to it...

Is Linda 'begging' for support and help from the community here? ... Is Linda complaining with sour grapes about the cost of ingredients or that the competition has a better product or service?

Reason Coffee Shop & Bookstore
I don't think this is what Linda is saying... I think Linda like all of our local independent businesses are suffering from a much deeper challenge. That of the disconnection of community. If you take the time to read the comments. Linda and what she is doing is so obviously loved by those that have been to the Kitchen. I have found the same talking to every local independent coffee shop. These people are amazing. The hours they work for what amounts to about £1 an hour sometimes for ... for what? ... to provide for us a space that if it was not there would be sorely missed... So what is wrong? ... if these places are loved, why are they all struggling? ... is the model wrong... is the pricing wrong? ... can they all be getting it wrong? ... How can we help? 

It is D-Day

Actually these places have become an integral and vital part of our communities. But... we are about to lose them. Linda has put her heart and soul into her work to "provide" a space for community to flourish. It has so nearly worked...

We have our own D-Day too just like Linda. Do we continue to "worship the emotionless supermarket giants" ... with the faceless shareholders living in splendour thousands of miles from Croxley.. or do we take stock... and think... it might be a little bit more money... but I know what I'm getting... I know the person... I'm supporting my own community where I live. I respect and honour the commitment and effort it takes to create this space and I'll do my bit to ensure myself and others have this facility going forward.

Take the Kitchen out of Croxley and it will be a sad blow for the village. What do you want there instead? An estate agent? ... a Pizza shop?

We all have a voice... and we have been 'provided' with an opportunity to start rebuilding community. It begins with a place to talk... it begins with a place to bring people together... It's our chance to do something here. We can all do our bit. 

It's people like Linda and other dedicated entrepreneurial souls who have begun the process to get our communities kick started again... We all benefit from what they are doing. Let's not see this passion and dedication wither on the vine in the first season...

An opportunity has been "Provided"

So in conclusion... we have been provided with a choice... we didn't need to do the 'providing' ... Linda, +Neal Emery , +Kerry Kavanagh and in fact any other local independent business has given us a chance to choose... do we support those working hard in our community for the benefit of our community... or do we continue to support those 'huge organisations' who take much more than they give back and do not value our communities... I suspect a bit of both... but let's use the local businesses whenever possible...


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